Sunken seiner leaks oil near Sitka

A 58-foot seiner that sank Wednesday is now estimated to have spilled 10-30 gallons of oil in Sitka waters. The incident took place half a mile from the mouth of Indian River.

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The Southeast Alaska Petroleum Response Organization (SEAPRO) and local responders deployed booms around the vessel to contain the spill. SEAPRO also plans to pre-stage 600 feet of boom, in case more oil is released.

The owner, William Manos, reports that 600 gallons of diesel fuel and 70 gallons of hydraulic and lube oils were on board the F/V Pacific Venture at the time of the sinking. According to the Coast Guard, fuel vents on the port side of the vessel have been plugged and other products remain in closed systems. A dive contractor will arrive in Sitka today to assess the situation and potentially remove fuel from the vessel, lessening the risk of pollution.

A Unified Command has formed to take care of clean-up, that includes the Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Park Service, Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Manos, the vessel’s owner.

The Pacific Venture ran aground Tuesday evening, rolled over, and sank in 25 feet of water Wednesday morning. No injuries have been reported, and there have been no confirmed reports of impacts to wildlife.

“Responders are working diligently to minimize the impact on the environment and the community,” said Bob Mattson, State On Scene Coordinator. The cause of the grounding is currently under investigation.

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